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I love the idea of button-up shirts, but I have a hard time finding ones that fit… Enter the button-up refashion- a project that utilizes a large shirt and transforms it to your specifications! Although this project is pretty straight forward, it does take time. Be sure that you actually like some feature of the large shirt! My shirt came from a fabulous family member who, like me, has a thing for red! I love the color and nautical stripes!
I started out by laying the shirt flat on my work surface and then folding the shirt in half. (In hind sight, I should have put a few pins in strategic places on the shirt when it was laying flat. The pins would have kept the fabric from moving around as much when the shirt was folded.) Next, I used a button up blouse as a “pattern.” Note: Do NOT use a form fitting or stretchy shirt for the pattern! (The button up’s fabric won’t stretch like a T shirt’s fabric would.) You want to cut the button down bigger than you need, then sew it smaller! Notice my ruler in the picture? I used that and a disappearing fabric pen to mark roughly 2 inches extra around my pattern shirt. The added inches will hopefully give me enough fabric for seam allowance AND for adjusting the fit. Better to cut too big than too small!!
Turning our attention to the sleeves! I made the decision to go sleeveless after noticing that the shoulder seam of the shirt was long enough to create a cap sleeve length on me. I used my handy dandy ruler and pen to mark about an inch and a half from the shoulder seams. I did this all around the arm and then trimmed the fabric at those marks. Note: In hind sight, I would probably have left 2 inches of fabric past the shoulder seam. Would have made life easier in the next step.
Here’s what the shirt looks like opened up. The side seams have been cut, and the sleeves have been removed. At this point, it’s a great idea to pin the side seams of the shirt closed so you can (carefully) try it on. You want to make sure that the cut shirt is big enough to fit you before you put more work into it. (Have I cut a shirt too small before and had to abandon the project? Yes!)
Now to finish those arm holes! The 1 and a half inches of extra fabric will become a rolled hem around the arm holes. First, I folded the extra fabric until it met the shoulder seam. Then, I folded the folded part over on itself and pinned.
Here is arm hole pinned for sewing!
And now for the body of the shirt! I pinned the side seams closed and quickly stitched with big, loose stitches. At this point, I just wanted to know how the shirt fit. There would be plenty of time for finalized seams later.
The next step took a couple tries. After trying on the shirt, I took the side seams in a bit, stitched them quickly, then tried on the shirt again. I repeated this process until I got a fit that I liked. Eventually, I ended up curving the seams inward slightly near waist level, creating a gradual hourglass shape. I also decided to open the seams several inches from the bottom of the shirt to allow a little extra leaway over my hips and bum. I used the seam allowance to roll mini hems for the openings.
Once I was happy with fit, I made my final hems of the side seams. YIPEE!!!
I could have stopped there, but decided to create a belt for the shirt for a little extra shaping and style! Yes, it was more work (sigh…), but I thought it would increase the ways I could wear the shirt. To make the belt, I cut open the sleeves, and attempted to cut 2 strips from each sleeve. I marked off strips that were (I think) 4 inches wide and as long as the sleeve fabric would allow.
After cutting the strips to the same length, I pinned the ends right sides together and stitched. All that work to create a piece of fabric long enough to become a belt!
I folded the long piece of fabric in half with the right sides together. I pinned and then stitched the fabric into a long tube. It took a while, but I eventually turned the tube right side out! (Pinning a safety pin to one end and pushing that and the attached fabric through the tube is one method.)
To finish the ends, I rolled the raw edges into the tubes. I pinned the openings closed and stitched them. Viola belt!
I wore my cute (and comfy!) new top with some favorite homemade cut offs! (To learn how to stamp the strawberries on the hem, check out this post here!)
I love this new top so much, that I have worn it repeatedly since making it! Stay tuned for some vintage-inspired red n’ white looks next week!